New Jersey fell just short in December of becoming the first state to accept $1 billion in sports bets in a single month, but still extended a streak of record-setting months while reaching a record $6 billion in wagers for the year. This while online casinos and poker set a new high, again helping to stem the millions in revenues losses by struggling Atlantic City casinos, according to PlayNJ, which offers news and analysis of the state’s gaming industry.
“A unique set of circumstances, most notably a once-a-century pandemic, sent online sports betting to these previously unfathomable highs,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The pandemic has had a diametrically opposite effect on New Jersey’s online and retail markets for both sports betting and casino games. But the growth of online betting was crucial in making up for at least some of the losses in revenue at Atlantic City casinos and certainly continue to steady the entire gaming industry.”
In December, New Jersey’s sportsbooks collected a record $996.3 million in wagers, according to official data released Wednesday. That surpassed the record $931 million bet in November, and marked the fifth straight month the state has set an all-jurisdiction record. Since August, sportsbooks have amassed $4.1 billion in bets.
December’s bets generated a record $66.4 million in revenue. Year-over-year, handle was up 78.6% from the $557.8 million bet in December 2019 and revenue was up 125.6% from $29.4 million in December 2019. December’s bets produced $8.3 million in state taxes.
For all of 2020, New Jersey’s retail and online sportsbooks produced:
- $6.02 billion in bets — a record for any legal jurisdiction despite major U.S. sports being shut down for four months —and up 31.3% from $4.6 billion in 2019.
- $5.5 billion in online wagering, up 44.2% from $3.8 billion in 2019.
- $398.5 million in operator revenue, up 33.1% from $299.3 million in 2019.
- $50.1 million in state taxes and $15 million in local taxes.
“Even when post-pandemic life returns to normal, online sports betting won’t likely give up its gains from this year,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The silver lining for the industry was that this year was an opportunity for online operators to focus heavily on their products and build their customer base, using a combination of technology improvements and aggressive promotions. That has matured the market far more quickly than was projected.”
Online betting generated 93.3%, or $929.3 million, of the state’s total handle in December, down from 93.6% in November. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped online operators with $29 million in gross revenue, up from $21.2 million in November.
FanDuel was followed in revenue by:
- Resorts Digital/DraftKings/Fox Bet ($15.4 million, up from $14.6 million in November)
- BetMGM/Borgata ($6.3 million, up from $1.3 million)
- Monmouth/William Hill/Sugarhouse/TheScore ($3.3 million, up from $1.9 million)
- Ocean Casino/William Hill ($3.2 million, down from $3.6 million)
- Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($562,188, up from $363,099)
- Caesars Sportsbook/888sport ($489,141, up from $247,615)
- Golden Nugget/BetAmerica ($343,849, up from $199,667)
- Tropicana/William Hill ($108,427, up from $105,028)
Retail sportsbooks generated $67 million in bets, down from $75.9 million in December 2019. Meadowlands/FanDuel topped retail books in December with $4.2 million in revenue. For the year, retail books generated $38.6 million in revenue, down from $54.9 million in 2019.
“The race for market share seems to be frozen in place,” Gouker said. “An expected launch of Penn National’s Barstool-branded sportsbook in 2021 could shake things up, but as of yet no operator has really eaten into the market share of FanDuel or DraftKings.”
Online casinos and poker just miss $100 million
New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms generated a record $99.5 million in revenue, up 101.6% from $49.3 million in December 2019 and shattering the previous record of $93.5 million. The month produced $14.9 million in state taxes.
December closed the books on a remarkable year in which online casinos tallied $970.3 million in revenue — a 101% gain over the $482.7 million in 2019 — and produced $145.7 million in state taxes. With revenue at retail casinos down $1.2 billion for the year compared with 2019, the dramatic rise in online gaming revenue was critical in offsetting some of the losses.
“It’s scary to think of where New Jersey’s gaming industry would be without online casino gaming,” Ramsey said. “Every dollar of revenue gained and tax dollar generated from online gaming proved desperately needed.”
Some other highlights from December’s report:
- Online casinos and poker generated $3.2 million a day over 31 days in December, up from $3.1 million a day over 30 days in November.
- Golden Nugget led online casinos with $29.4 million in December revenue, up from $26 million in November. But Borgata continued to eat into a market lead that once seemed insurmountable, hitting $27.2 million in December. Resorts Digital was third with $21 million.
- Revenue from online casinos was $96.4 million, up from $89.4 million in October. Online poker produced $3 million, up from $2.4 million in October.
For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting and online gaming in New Jersey, visit PlayNJ.com/news.
About the PlayUSA.com Network:
The PlayUSA.com Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA.com and its state-focused branches produce original daily reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools related to the advancement of safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.
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